Safa/PSL nowhere near fine

Safa boss Danny Jordaan. Picture: Themba Makofane
Safa boss Danny Jordaan. Picture: Themba Makofane

The fragile relationship between Safa and the PSL will most likely deteriorate further this weekend as the upcoming extraordinary congress could widen the rivalry between the football structures – if Safa members get their way.

The Safa leadership will go into the congress on Saturday to amend its constitution “in line with CAF and Fifa statutes”. The proposed amendments to the constitution will most likely change how professional football is run in the country.

However, some of the proposed amendments have not gone down well with the PSL. One official went as far as saying that Safa “is directly targeting us”.

“Professional football will never be the same again. In fact, we might as well cease to exist should those amendments see the light of day”, said the official, on condition of anonymity.

City Press has reliably learnt that PSL clubs have given the executive the mandate to maintain the status quo.

According to an insider who attended the PSL’s annual general meeting last week, one club boss hinted that the clubs might opt not to be associated with the mother body.

According to the insider, the club boss said that, “33 years ago, clubs seceded from the then [National Professional Soccer League] to form a parallel structure, and the same could happen again”.

However, this is highly unlikely as South Africa was in sporting isolation then, but is now a member of Fifa, which governs all association football.

PSL chairperson Irvin Khoza. Picture: Themba Makofane

The bone of contention is the proposed amendment regarding issues of sponsorships.

After the controversy that followed the announcement of insurance company Outsurance as a Safa sponsor, the mother body wanted to be in the know regarding any potential sponsorship deals.

The following are Safa’s proposed amendments and motivations: (read the full list of proposed amendments below)

* To immediately communicate to Safa its intention to discuss, consider or to enter into negotiations with a sponsor or any person or a group of persons for a sponsorship or the raising of funds.

The members of Safa must be accountable for all of its activities, including the raising of funds and sponsorships. To avoid any potential conflict of interest and to have a unified common approach that is no doubt in the best interest of football, Safa must take the lead in this regard.

* To ensure every sponsorship without exception is negotiated in the best interest of football in the country in consultation with Safa and with written permission from Safa.

The members of Safa must be accountable for all of its activities, including the raising of funds and sponsorships. To avoid any potential conflicts of interest and to have a common approach, which is no doubt in the best interests of football, Safa must take the lead in this regard.

The two parties are at loggerheads regarding Outsurance’s sponsorship, which is mainly for match officials. PSL has sought legal opinion on the issue, while Safa went to Fifa for guidance. It is not clear what the outcomes of the two processes are.

Another proposed amendment is to stamp Safa’s authority on matters of football in the country, including that all members, including associate members and the special member, shall be subordinate to Safa.

There can only be one national association that controls football in South Africa. All other structures affiliated to Safa are logically subordinate to the controlling body, and this is recognised by Fifa.

Following the ugly confrontations, as well as a back-and-forth running battle regarding its electoral code and compliance, Safa is changing its election policy to avoid future misunderstandings and complications.

According to the old policy, “the chairperson of the electoral committee and members of the committee will conduct the elections in accordance with the provisions of the Safa electoral code”.

The new policy stipulates that “the elections shall be monitored and conducted by the scrutineers as stipulated in the standing orders of congress/meetings, with the chief executive officer [CEO] being the presiding officer”.

The electoral committee will be removed and replaced by scrutineers chosen in the congress, similar to the procedure adopted by CAF and Fifa.

The standing orders are referred to insofar as the detailed role played by the scrutineers is concerned.

Should any dispute relating to an election arise during the meeting, the presiding officer of the elections shall rule thereon, and his ruling shall be final and may not be challenged by any candidate, delegate or member.

The intention is to do away with the electoral committee as it is seen as a waste of time and money.

Scrutineers assisted and led by the CEO shall distribute ballot papers and any announcement in this regard will be made by the presiding officer before or after the counting.

This means that the presiding officer shall announce the result of each ballot and rule on any dispute, if necessary.

The Safa leadership also proposes to limit the powers of the CEO: “He/she shall be appointed subject to an eligibility check and may be dismissed by the national executive council.”

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August 2020

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